5 health foods that aren't actually so healthy

Australians are set to spend a whopping $1 billion on diet products this year alone, and with the health industry booming, why are we actually fatter than ever?

According to Sheila Zhou, expert Scientist at USANA, leading producer of high quality supplements, “It’s easy to get confused by the various ‘healthy’ food options available these days. Whether something is ‘fat free’, ‘all-natural’ or ‘organic’, we are often tricked into consuming foods that aren’t as nutritionally balanced as we think, in fact sometimes the calories and chemicals in these ‘health foods’ are higher than in our favourite junk foods”.

To help you make the right healthy food choices, Ms Zhou shares her expert tips of a few of the most common products people have nutritionally incorrect misconceptions around:

1.      Salad

Most people are likely to order a salad at a restaurant if they are looking for a healthier option on the menu. However, not all salads are created equal! In fact, many can have toppings that make eating a salad just as unhealthy as choosing a burger. Adding croutons, shredded cheese, dried fruit, and select types of dressings can make your salad an unhealthy alternative. By opting for veggies and lean meats as toppings, with oil and vinegar to top it off, you can save yourself from eating as many as 500 calories per serve – so don’t think that just because something has lettuce in it, it’s in the clear.  

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2.      Smoothies 

What could be wrong with blended fruits, veggies and milk or ice? Yes, smoothies are primarily made with those ingredients but they can also be full of chocolate, peanut butter, frozen yogurt and syrups. All of those additives decrease the nutritional value, and can make drinking a smoothie just as bad as slurping on a milkshake. 


3.      Orange juice

A good source of Vitamin C, many people pour themselves a cup of orange juice with their breakfast each morning. What some don’t realise is that orange juice is loaded with carbohydrates and added sugars. Simply taking a Vitamin C tablet such as USANA’s Poly C, or eating an orange, are both good ways to avoid consuming excessive amounts of sugar while still receiving the nutritional benefits of Vitamin C.

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4.      Soup

On a cold day, people want a quick and easy meal that will warm them up. A simple option is canned soup, but it can also be a big mistake. Canned soups are typically high in salt, which can cause bloating and fluid retention. Choosing to make homemade soup is the best alternative because you know the ingredients included and you can substitute anything you deem unhealthy for a healthier option.


5.      Muesli bars

Many people have the belief that muesli bars are healthy snacks, with some even calling them a ‘breakfast staple’. However, a majority of readily available muesli bars actually have more calories and sugar than a Mars Bar! Make sure you stay away from the bars with high level of artificial sweeteners, and additives such as yoghurt or chocolate chips, instead ensuring you opt for a wholefood and nutritionally balanced bar.

Tell us, what changes will you make to your diet?